Once there was a little girl who loved to dance. She leapt and spun and twirled about and no matter where she went, people stopped to watch and admire and say how cute she was.
As she grew older she kept on dancing and people kept on watching and admiring.
Until one day, when she was much older, someone in the crowd who was watching yelled out, “You oughta be ashamed of yourself. You’re acting like an old fool.”
The comment from an unidentified stranger surprised her. She stopped, mid leap, lost her footing, stumbled and fell to the ground.
As she lay on the ground rubbing her ankle, the crowd starting mumbling. “Fool! What an exhibitionist,” they muttered amongst themselves. “Can’t she see she’s too old to be dancing?”
“These are serious times,” they whispered as they moved away. “We’ve got no time for such foolishness.”
The girl, who was a much older woman now, lay on the ground, nursing her bruised ankle. She was surprised by the crowd’s response to her fall.
As she struggled to get up, a little girl came to her side, held out her hand and helped her stand up. “Are you hurt?” she asked.
The woman laughed. “No. I just have to catch my breath so I can start dancing again.”
“Doesn’t it bother you what they said?” the little girl asked. “They sounded so mean.”
The woman chuckled as she checked out her body to make sure nothing was broken. “Tell you the truth, I hadn’t noticed anyone was watching me dance.”
Just then, someone threw a rotten tomato at the woman and screamed, “Stupid old woman! Go home!”
The woman ducked quickly and shielded the little girl with her body. The tomato landed far enough away, she didn’t even feel its splatter.
“That was so mean,” the little girl squealed.
The woman knelt down in front of the little girl, gripped her hands in hers and looked into her eyes. “Sometimes, we fear what we don’t know or understand,” the woman told the little girl. “All those people are scared because they don’t remember the pure joy of dancing. Some of them probably never even knew it. So, they’re afraid.”
“But they shouldn’t throw rotten tomatoes!” the little girl insisted.
“That’s true,” the woman agreed. “But when we don’t know better, we can’t do better. Most of those people don’t know that taking life so seriously is making life harder to live.”
“If I dance, will my life be better?” the little girl asked.
“Only you know what’s true for you,” the woman told her. “The secret is, to live your truth and let everyone around you lives theirs in harmony and joy. I know that dancing won’t fix all the woes of the world, but it sure helps me get through each day loving my life and the world around me.”
“Will you keep on dancing if no one’s watching?” the little girl asked her.
The woman threw back her head, laughed out loud and took a little leap of joy. “Of course! Dancing is what I love to do!”
“Oh goodie!” said the little girl clapping her hands in delight. “I want to dance too! Will you teach me?”
And the woman rose up and taught the little girl to dance and together they spun about and twirled and leapt for the pure joy of dancing like no one was watching.
I am always so enthralled and fascinated with the creative process. When I went to bed last night, I had completed the painting, but did not know what the quote would be — or the story. I had started the evening with a vision for a different quote. The muse had another story in store for me! And that’s what is so fascinating about giving into the flow of creative expression – I never know what will appear. How fascinating!